Story

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is set 10 years after Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The movie opens with an assassination attempt on Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), who is now a senator for the planet Naboo. The attempt fails but to keep Padme safe, Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) asks for Padme to be placed under the protection of the Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christen). After a second attempt is made on Padme’s life, Jedi Masters Yoda (voice of Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) assign Obi-Wan to track down the assassin. Anakin and Padme are sent to Naboo for safekeeping, and their relationship develops.

Obi-Wan finds the assassin, bounty hunter Jango Fett (Temuera Morison), on the planet Kamino. Here Obi-Wan also discovers a secret cloned army. After failing to capture Jango Fett, Obi-Wan follows him to the planet Geonosis. Here Obi-Wan discovers the real culprit behind the assassination attempts, a Jedi Master named Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), who has turned to the Dark Side of the Force.

Meanwhile, Anakin and Padme face more peril as they travel to the planet Tatooine after Anakin has premonitions that his mother is in terrible danger.

Themes

Cloning; death of a parent; revenge; deception and living a lie

Violence

This movie has stylised science fiction action violence and extended battle scenes that show war between robot droids, war machines and human clones. Several scenes show dismembered bodies, and several human characters are killed during the movie. But there is very little blood and gore. For example:

  • During a risky action sequence, Obi-Wan jumps through a glass window in a high-rise apartment and falls. He grabs a flying droid machine. Obi-Wan dangles from the machine, which nearly collides with other vehicles as it flies along very fast. A woman fires a laser rifle at Obi-Wan, and he falls to the ground. He lands safely on top of another speeding vehicle.
  • A woman points a gun at Obi-Wan. Before she can shoot, Obi-Wan uses his light sabre to cut off her forearm. There is a quick image of the forearm lying on the ground.
  • Characters use light sabres to cut off body parts from alien creatures. They slice alien creatures down the middle so that the two halves of the body fall apart. Someone cuts off a man’s head with a light sabre and the helmeted head rolls away. The man’s son sees this and picks up the severed helmeted head and stares at it. Someone cuts off Anakin’s forearm with a light sabre, leaving a smoking stump. No blood and gore is shown in any scene involving dismemberment.
  • A woman is shot in the neck and killed by a poisonous dart.
  • One scene shows an extended stylised action fight between Obi-Wan and a bounty hunter. They kick, punch and head-butt each other. The bounty hunter fires his laser gun and a rocket at Obi-Wan, resulting in explosions and fire. They fall from a high-rise building and end up dangling from a rope. Both survive unhurt.
  • One scene shows Anakin’s mother tied to a wooden frame. She has several cuts to her face, and it looks like she has been physically abused. Anakin cuts her down, and she dies in his arms. Anakin is very upset and has tears running down his face. He gets very angry and ruthlessly kills two humanoid aliens. The scene ends, but later he talks about killing entire families of aliens, including women and children. He is very upset and says that he slaughtered them like animals.
  • Padme, Anakin and Obi-Wan are tied to stone pillars in an arena. They are left to be killed by three monstrous alien creatures. A tiger-like creature shakes a guard in its jaws and then leaves the guard dead on the ground. The same creature slashes Padme across her back with its claws, leaving several long bloody gashes. Padme screams.
  • One of the movie’s final scenes shows an extended battle between thousands of droids and thousands of cloned human warriors. There is a lot of laser fire. Missiles are fired into a giant spaceship, which explodes and falls to the ground.

Content that might disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years.

For example, younger children might be disturbed by many of the alien creatures. Some of these creatures look creepy and threatening. They have claw-like fingernails, misshapen teeth or sharp carnivorous teeth. 

From 5-8

In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • One scene shows thousands of cloned foetuses in large containers.
  • A helmeted man has his head cut off. His young son sees this. The son picks up the helmeted head and stares at it. 

From 8-13

Children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes, characters and images mentioned above. 

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie. 

Sexual references

This movie has some low-level sexual references. For example:

  • In one scene Anakin looks at Padme rather lustfully. Padme tells Anakin not to look at her that way because it makes her feel uncomfortable.
  • Padme asks Anakin if he is allowed to love and have attachments as a Jedi. Anakin says that it’s forbidden. Then he says that compassion is central to a Jedi’s life and that you are encouraged to love in a way.
  • Anakin tells Padme that he is haunted by the kiss that she should have never have given him.
  • Padme tells Anakin that she loves him. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example, there is a nightclub scene in which patrons, including Obi-Wan, drink from glasses containing multi-coloured drinks. A man approaches Obi-Wan and asks him if he wants to buy some ‘death sticks’. He’s holding items that look a lot like cigarettes. Obi-Wan refuses and sends the man away. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some partial nudity and mild sexual activity. For example:

  • Women wear tight-fitting and low-cut clothing.
  • One scene shows Anakin lightly touching Padme on her bare back, and then they kiss passionately.
  • Padme and Anakin kiss in two later scenes. 

Product placement

Although no product placement occurs in the movie, many associated toys and other merchandise has been marketed to children. 

Coarse language

None of concern 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a science fiction action movie. It targets younger adolescent children as well as older viewers, but it’s likely to be too scary for children under 10 years. It will easily entertain its target audience, but its running time of 142 minutes might make it a bit long for some viewers.

The main messages from this movie are to do with how anger and hatred can corrupt what’s good in people and can bring out the worst in people.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include the following:

  • Compassion: Jedi Knights are taught to show compassion towards others.
  • Selflessness and self-sacrifice: Padme always puts her own needs aside for the needs of the inhabitants of her world. She also shows self-sacrifice when she risks her life to rescue Obi-Wan.
  • Family ties: Anakin shows strong family ties when he sacrifices everything to try to rescue his mother.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as the consequences of arrogance. For example, Anakin can be arrogant and defiant. What can happen in real life if you’re arrogant?